The Jebel Ali Free Zone. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: The total number companies operating in the UAE free-trade zones grew by 4.4 per cent to around 60,600 by end of mid - February 2021, compared to end of the same month last year, according to UAE's National Economic Register (NER).

The growth is reflective of the successful business continuity and disaster recovery plans adopted by the UAE to lure foreign business to work across the nation amidst the global economic slowdown triggered by the COVID-19 since the second quarter of 2020.


According to the NER's figures, businesses operating in UAE free zones account for more than 8 per cent of the total number of companies registered in the UAE by the end of first half of February 2021, most of which are based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

There are over 44 free zones in the UAE. They are specifically designed to draw foreign investments with easier start-up processes, labour and immigration procedures, primarily 100 per cent ownership for all nationalities, coupled with other incentives.